Family Farm and Food Bytes
MCDONALD’S SETS CONDITIONS FOR RESTAURANT REOPENINGS (The Wall Street Journal) – McDonald’s Corp. is asking restaurant owners in the U.S. to make dozens of changes to ease coronavirus concerns before reopening their dining rooms, including commitments to clean bathrooms every half-hour and digital kiosks after each order.
TYSON CUTS PRICES OF SOME BEEF PRODUCTS (CNN) – In response to surging meat prices caused by virus outbreaks at meatpacking plants, Tyson Foods is cutting the prices of some beef products it sells to supermarkets and restaurants by up to 30 percent. Tyson processes a fifth of the nation’s beef.
HEMP FARMERS PREPARE FOR ROUND TWO (WCIA) – Illinois farmers are ready for another round with the state’s latest cash crop. In May, farmers started planting hemp again, and they are hoping for better results, both during growing and on the market.
FARM BANKRUPTCIES INCREASE FOR 5TH STRAIGHT YEAR (American Farm Bureau Federation)
Year-to-year farm bankruptcies increased 23%, according to recently released data from U.S. Courts. An American Farm Bureau Federation Market Intel report shows a total of 627 filings during the 12-month period ending March 2020, marking five consecutive years of Chapter 12 bankruptcy increases, including an accelerated rate since January.
Wisconsin was the hardest hit with 78 filings in the 12-month period, followed by Nebraska with 41 Chapter 12 filings, and Iowa at 37. More than 50 percent of the Chapter 12 filings were in the 13-state Midwest region, followed by 19 percent in the Southeast.
“Each bankruptcy represents a farm in America struggling to survive or going under, which is both heartbreaking and alarming,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “Even more concerning, the difficulty staying afloat is made worse by the pandemic and related shutdowns as farmers are left with fewer markets for their products and lower prices for the products they do sell.”
Currently, the increase in bankruptcies is not related to the coronavirus pandemic. That is certain to change as U.S. unemployment is projected to reach 14.5% in the second and third quarters, which will cause a decline in off-farm income. This could affect farmers’, notably small-to-medium-sized farms’, ability to service a record $425 billion in debt, as many farmers rely on off-farm income as a stabilizing force.
US MEAT EXPORTS SURGE AS INDUSTRY STRUGGLES TO MEET DOMESTIC DEMAND (Associated Press) – U.S. meat exports are surging even as the industry is struggling to meet domestic demand because of coronavirus outbreaks at processing plants. Although the situation could cause concern that American workers are risking their health to meet foreign demand, experts say it shouldn’t because much of the meat sold to other countries is cuts that Americans generally don’t eat.
It’s worth noting that meat exports to China and other Asian markets include cuts such as pig feet, snouts, and internal organs that have little value in the United States. The most popular cuts in the U.S., including bacon and pork chops, largely stay in the domestic market. More than half of the chicken exports to China were chicken feet. And the Meat Export Federation says demand from the export market helps boost meat production in the U.S. because more animals are slaughtered to help meet all the demand.
CORONAVIRUS MEAT SHORTAGES HAVE PLANT-BASED FOOD MAKERS’ MOUTHS WATERING (Wall Street Journal) – Plant-based food makers are racing to fill in for missing cuts in supermarket meat cases, after the coronavirus disrupted operations at meatpacking plants.
DISCOVERY OF 'MURDER HORNET' IN U.S. PACIFIC NORTHWEST WORRIES AGRICULTURE OFFICIALS (Reuters) – Hundreds of Asian giant hornets, an invasive, predatory insect dubbed the “murder hornet,” have turned up in Washington state near the Canadian border, where they pose a threat to humans and the beekeeping industry, state agriculture officials said.
About Family Farm and Food Bytes: This is a collection of articles gathered from both mainstream and agriculture media and is designed to keep you informed as a member and leader within the Cook County Farm Bureau® organization. The articles summarized above are not intended to represent Cook County Farm Bureau policy or positions, but rather to provide members an idea of what is being reported regionally, nationally, and globally.